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Prom 24, MacMillan and Mahler

Conducting a symphony written for you as a birthday gift must be a particularly special experience, and the temptation to indulge must have been very high for Donald Runnicles, in Monday night’s première of James MacMillan’s Symphony no. 4. That he didn’t is a testament to him, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who followed […]

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Prom 24 2015

The previous night, a performance of the Verdi Requiem, also under Runnicles and featuring his super-charged Deutches Oper Chorus, had its own distinctive merits. To hear a powerhouse choir sing this essentially operatic score was thrilling – the welter of the Dies Irae, the whispered magic of the opening Requiem, the energetic detail of the […]

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Edinburgh International Festival

“It was an occasion for pride on various counts: a magnificent orchestra, the BBC SSO whose name reflects both the BBC, whom God preserve, and topical Scottishness; and the conducting of Donald Runnicles, Scotland’s most globally successful musical export, in the solid, German repertoire which is his chief glory.” Martin Hoyle, Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7e6a0c48-3f42-11e5-b98b-87c7270955cf.html  

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Oliver Condy visits Grand Teton Music Festival

…the conductor of this staggering group of musicians is none other than Donald Runnicles, musical director of the Deutsche Oper, principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and, until September 2016, principal conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, after which he becomes conductor emeritus. ‘It’s a testament to this place that the players […]

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

Runnicles has some history with this opera, and his reading pulsed not only with energy throughout but with unusual fervor in the heated Trojan scenes and romantic intensity in the much more extended Carthaginian segment. He made such difficult, often static moments as the presentation of the Carthaginians to the queen and the various dance […]

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

Donald Runnicles shaped the performance with great sensitivity, capturing the contrasts of vigor and languor; the strong chorus and 18 dancers ably filled out the panorama. Heidi Waleson,  The Wall Street Journal 17 June 2015

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

To make it all work as music drama, whatever the time and place, Berlioz’ score carefully tracks and amplifies the action.  Stirringly performed under returning hero Donald Runnicles, San Francisco Opera’s former music director, the music surged along with narrative drive, measured balance with the soloists and a large chorus and a prismatic range of […]

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

Runnicles’ reading is easily the most eloquent and sweeping. There was never a moment when things seemed to be on automatic pilot. Each aria, duet or ensemble came through as a show-stopper. Runnicles approach was leisurely, yet infused with drama and energy, and the daring slow pace exposed the orchestra’s fine balances and intonation. Much […]

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

Runnicles presided over a splendidly paced orchestral reading, enforcing a sense of flow, lending the singers essential support, and delivering Berlioz’s big dramatic moments with commanding sweep and weight. From the doom of Troy to the idyllic music of the Royal Hunt and Storm, Runnicles, whose greatest triumphs with this company have been in Ring […]

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Les Troyens: San Francisco Opera

To Donald Runnicles, former music director of S.F..Opera, must go a great deal of the credit for this production’s magnificent success. He led the sprawling score with tremendous authority, a sure hand for orchestral balance and sonority, and poetic sensibility at the score’s most desperate, and most tender, moments. He paced the opera so well […]

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